The first recorded mapping of what is now Koombana Bay and the eventual City of Bunbury, was in 1803 by the French explorers Nicolas Baudin and Louis de Freycinet, from their ships the Geographe and Casuarina. In 1831 there was a temporary English military settlement with the first settlers moving to the area named after Lieutenant Henry William St Pierre Bunbury in 1838. A growing port serviced the settlers and the subsequent local industries that developed.
The area is the traditional land of the Noongar Aboriginal people with many Noongar names and travel routes still widely used today.
Enjoying a mild Mediterranean climate, the city is bordered by the Indian Ocean, Koombana Bay and Leschenault inlet and naturally enough water sports, port and harbour facilities as well as a growing seafoods industry, feature highly in the local lifestyle and economy. Bunbury's port is Australia's ninth largest port by volume and by 2020 should be rated within the nation's top five.
Located 175km south of Perth, the city and its neighboring suburbs have a population of 52,000 and Bunbury is one of Australia's fastest growing cities. Bunbury is the commercial hub to WA's "South West", an area that is home to the Margaret River wine region and major coal, alumina and mineral sands industries; a region that boasts around 8,000 businesses and a GDP of over $5 billion. Presently it is about a 2 hour drive from Perth to Bunbury, but this will be reduced by 30 minutes on the completion of the recently announced Bunbury Highway or Peel Deviation.
Bunbury is well known for its "Cappucino Strip" restaurant and caf? precinct and more recently the fast developing Marlston waterfront area that already includes the upmarket Vat 2 restaurant, Taffy's "live" confectionary outlet, Barbados tavern and nightclub, Jiving J's waterfront bar and eatery and "Surprise Chef" Aristos's own seafood boardwalk.
Thousands of years ago Bunbury was subject to lava flows which resulted in both the unique basalt rock formations on the city beach as well as the present Marlston Hill and Boulters Heights, where today some of Bunbury's most exclusive residential real estate is located.
There are numerous property choices in the Bunbury area ranging from trendy cosmopolitan apartments to traditional suburban family homes and from beach retreats to rural or semi-rural properties.
There is a wide variety of attractions, with Bunbury the home of the Dolphin Discovery Centre where you can learn about and interact with wild dolphins, whilst in 2005 the city hopes to host a round of the Formula Nippon motor racing circuit. There is an indoor skate centre, ten pin bowling, cinema within the CBD area with the Bunbury Entertainment Centre alongside. Bunbury boasts a major aquatic and fitness centre with a smaller indoor pool located at Australind.
There are 9 secondary schools in the central Bunbury area, a campus of Edith Cowan University, TAFE College, several shopping centres, sporting grounds and major private and public hospitals.
Shops are normally open 8.30am-5.30pm Monday to Friday and 8.30am-5.00pm Saturdays with late night shopping until 9pm on Thursday. The Eaton Fair Shopping Centre in Bunbury's northern suburbs has extended trading hours 7 days a week. Banks only operate 10am - 4pm Monday through Thursday and until 5pm on Fridays, although credit and building societies normally also open on Saturday mornings. There are a host of automatic teller machines and bank agencies dotted in and around Bunbury.
To get around Bunbury there are ample modern taxis, a public bus transport service and more recently a tourist "tram" that will carry you about the city areas and give you an explanation of the local sites as you go. The Bunbury Visitor Centre in Carmody Street near Centrepoint Shopping Centre will also assist with additional maps and local knowledge.
There are several Bunbury medical practices and we have a listing of emergency medical contacts on our "Contact" page.
There are a number of Post Offices in the Bunbury area and postage stamps can also be purchased at local newsagencies. Postage for a standard letter, anywhere in Australia, is 50c.
Free to Air TV channels in Bunbury are the ABC, GWN, WIN and SBS but many homes also receive the Perth networks 7, 9 and 10. Foxtel pay TV is also available in Bunbury. The electricity supply in Bunbury, like the rest of Australia, is 240v.
City and suburban locations in the Bunbury area include Australind, Eaton, Dalyellup, Vittoria Heights, Marlston Hill, Clifton Park, Gelorup, Mangles, Leschenault, Crosslands, Sandridge Park, Glen Padden, South Bunbury, Withers, College Grove, Carey Park, Picton, Davenport and East Bunbury. There is a full listing of Bunbury real estate in our Bunbury real estate guide.
The Bunbury region of Western Australia includes the areas of Harvey, Capel, Dardanup, Binningup, Myalup, Burekup, Boyanup, Peppermint Grove Beach, Stratham, Yarloop, Wokalup, Benger, Brunswick, Roelands, Leschenault and the Ferguson Valley.
Bunbury is now also home to a substantial expat community from the USA, Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Our Bunbury real estate guide is of obvious benefit to both business migrants and the local Bunbury community alike.
About The Author
Keith Palmer is creating the WA Online project - "Building information bridges for Western Australian communities.